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Interview mit hubster

inQuake|acid: Let's do the regular beginning for an interview. How about a little introduction of yourself?

hubster: My real name is Mindi (short for my real name which is long, given I'm of Indian heritage) and I'm 30. I live in Bondi, Sydney Australia and have been Quaking since Q1TEST came out back in 95/96.
I *LOVE* the beach, music (classical, metal, many other types), reading and art. I have problems keeping my mouth shut about left-wing politics: P
I first started mapping with Worldcraft in Quake, dabbled with Quake II and finally decided to release work publicly with Quake III Arena.
I'm a big supporter of competitive players and their needs, hence why I choose to map primarily for CPMA (which in my opinion is the ultimate platform for competitive FPS).
Current maps in CPMA are CPM12 (Dismemberment, also went on to become an official map of the CPL), CPM19 (which was a "completion" of sorts for Jude's Q3JDM9, a classic map imo) and CPM22 which everyone knows.
I've been known more for bringing Preacher's Aerowalk map (CPM22) to CPMA. My original version was well received and highly circulated, but it wasn't official. Over time I felt it needed further fine tuning. Eventually Preacher and I got together and under his guidance I released the only official Aerowalk version for Quake III Arena. I'm hoping I did his excellent work some justice :) The map was released as CPM22.

inQuake|acid: So Quake 4 has now grown a bit and got some rather fine mods, so one can evaluate its potential. How do you enjoy Quake 4? Do you think it can prosper how Quake 3 Arena did?

hubster: Actually, I think it's much too early to evaluate how Quake 4 will go. Quake IV is having a rough start thats for sure, probably the roughest of all of them. I think this is caused by more than the fact that the game was released in a somewhat unfinished state - it's also caused by the way the community has developed. The last time we had a Quake release come out, it was back in 1999. The gaming scene was still reasonably underground, the old school players still made up a fair amount of the population (now in 2006, this isnt the case).

Since 1999, we've seen the rise of the tactical shooter in HL, CS, various other clones and also the demise of UT, so the effect on the community overall has been HUGE: people now have higher and UNREALISTIC expectations of games. The current generation overlooks that a game takes time to mature. The new generation of players, who were not around since Quake back in 1996 and Doom prior to that don't realise how things work and they now make up the majority of the community, so this in turn effects maps, mods and also (I'm sure) quality of patches and so on.

The community right now is in my opinion, in a big transition. We're transcending from the old generation into the new, and no doubt for companies like ID, Raven, Epic, Splash Damage, I'm sure this isnt the easiest thing to go through as theyre serving a "new audience". For example, the old days of enjoying bug in games are gone; people are now focused on perfection out of the box, and this isnt a realistic thing I think.
On the other side of the coin, companies are involving the community less (e.g., not releasing tests like the early Quake's had) and I feel this is making a MASSIVE impact on the quality of games we're seeing - the gap between the companies and the community is becoming wider each day, it needs to be filled.. SOON!

The companies need to focus less on their profits and technical brilliance and seek guidance from the community on the quality of what they're releasing. People criticise ID of being engine-builders and not game developers, but if you really look at things on a larger scale, dont you think ALL the companies are doing this? This pattern started back when Unreal was first released, it turned into a big ID vs. Epic thing, and has grown since then. It's all about technologies now, not the quality of the game. Thus, the responsibility of mappers and modders is now bigger than before - we have more to fix, more to add to make the game what it should be. I think the task with Quake IV is going to be a big one.
Unless Raven and ID listen to the community, the game will not last. I like the game a lot, I enjoy it and it DOES have a lot of potential, but its been released unpolished, its been rushed out the door. Now we have to wait until a decent patch comes out, and by then, how many people will have run out of patience?

inQuake|acid: Observing the First Person Shooter market it's hard to determine THE recent FPS. Going back a few years there was q3, cs, a little ut and not too much in between. Do you agree that there might be some kind of satisfaction in FPS and what might be the reasons?

hubster: I think I probably covered this above: P

inQuake|acid: The recent years have shown that development of FPS does take place majorly in "technical fields" like graphics, physics engine etc. What are your desired fields of game aspects that shall be taken to a higher level in the future (e.g. innovative game ideas, accessibility, input devices/game control, intuitivity and displays)?

hubster: From a technical aspect, I dont think we need too many more new features in games. The effects and everything else now is nice, so its probably just fine tuning what technologies are out there at the moment. Look back over the last few years? Coloured lighting? Check. Volumetric Shadows? Check. Smoother animation? Check. 32-bit textures? Check. Realistic water? Check. And the list goes on. I am personally happy now with games on a technical level, what I want to see now is a good GAME EXPERIENCE. This includes storylines, MP maps, BETTER level design tools being released with games, better weapon balancing, more immersive game play (but not to the point of being super realistic), MUCH BETTER AI (lets face it, its 2006 and 99% of games have pathetic AI).
Its the content now which needs attention, not special effects and engines. These things will come from what I said before - the companies need to get the community involved NOW. They are running out of ideas and need to listen to their customers or they will suffer the same fate as what the film industry is - starvation of content and quality. The community LOVES it when the companies communicate via .plans, site updates, patches, tests, articles etc. It creates a very special relationship for the customers and the companies.

I believe that this is why games like Doom, Doom 2, Quake and Quake 2 were so successful. It was a tight knit and personal thing for the players, knowing that in some SMALL way, they had a part in the games. So it was a positive cycle, the players felt important and ID released fantastic products. The customers lapped it up and the successes on both sides were fantastic.

inQuake|acid: Can PC game developers learn from console game developers and/or backwards? If so, which therms do you refer to?

hubster: Console development is fixed platform based, so for a developer its probably easier and nicer to work on, as you dont really have to think about various differences in hardware. You can maximise your development for the target platform as opposed to give up a few things here and there for the sake of compatibility.
I dont think correlations between console and PC development are many because of the above - both are different philosophies because of differences in platform, and also the ways that the players will interface with the game on a console as opposed to PC can also change game play drastically.

inQuake|acid: Which announced or not announced games fill your most wanted list?

hubster: I'm not paying too much attention to other games right now, just concentrating on whats happening with Q4Max's forums, my own maps for Quake IV, and seeing how things are developing. I will say though, I think we need more fantasy-style FPS games - what the hell is going on with all these BORING realistic games? Where are the Shamblers, the gothic hallways, rusty gates, firebrands on the walls, full moons, fogs around castles, dark forests? Enough of these Bush-Administration styled Iraq-War FPS games, we see enough of this crap on the news, I want to see IMAGINATION in my games! Do all these game developers watch CNN all the time or do they actually read any non-war books at all? I want monsters, dragons, goblins, wolves coming at me with blood all over their jaws, bring some EVIL back into games! I want dark clouds and snowy winters of horror! I tell you one thing, while I dont like sequels; I want to see a sequel to the original Quake. That would be nasty! But more so, a dark evil game which is scary and fantastic (in the fantasy sense). And with good MP to compliment it!

inQuake|acid: So thanks a lot for the interview. Any closing comments or shoutouts?

hubster: Patience people! Quake IV's time will come I think, but you all have to realise that we mappers and modders are also waiting for Quake IV to mature so we can release better work for the community as well. Hi to arQ, swelt, wviperw.. and of course Mum and Dad :P


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